Christmas is big in Vietnam.
For Jude, the best part of visiting Budapest was definitely going on a pony. Jude and I were hanging out at a small petting zoo in City Park (while mom soaked in one of the city’s thermal baths nearby) when we saw a little girl (maybe 3 or 4) taking a pony ride. Jude was captivated, but didn’t want to get too close as he has always been scared of large animals. When she was finished, I told him, “Now it’s Jude’s turn.” “No!” he screamed. Sensing that he would have a change of heart, I picked him up while the screaming continued, and placed him on the pony. I had to wave off the woman in charge who gestured in surprise that I would put a screaming child on top of her pony. Sure enough, the screaming quickly subsided and Jude ended up loving the experience. He talks about it still pretty much constantly, and even did a second ride to show mom how brave he had been after she got out of the bath.
Paprika is ubiquitous in Hungary, and comes in many different variations (certainly, many more than I’m used to seeing at home), from mild and sweet to very hot. While visiting Budapest, we made three trips to the Great Market Hall and I spent a lot of time looking at the different kinds of paprika sold there. I asked one vendor the difference between two types of spicy paprika she was selling, thinking it was the level of heat, and she told me instead that the peppers were grown in different areas of Hungary, each with its own unique flavor.